Authentic: True to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.
That’s the formal definition I got when I looked up the word earlier this week. But, what does that mean to me? How does it translate in the real world? Those questions are a little harder to answer so I took more time and thought about it.
I agree that authenticity is about being true to your own personality, spirit, and character. However, more than that I believe authenticity is about having the confidence to do so. No matter what. It’s about being unapologetically you, even when it’s called weird or unpopular. Authenticity is a choice.
The best examples of this in action happen to be two of my favorite people right now. Comedian Tiffany Haddish and reality star turned rapper, Cardi B. As a whole, we love them for their authenticity. I know I do. They worked their behinds off to get where they are, and it seems the fame/notoriety didn’t change them. They aren’t shy about sharing their stories either.
Tiffany Haddish spoke about using Groupon so much to save money when she wasn’t making as much, that eventually gave her an endorsement deal. (And a Superbowl commercial.) That’s amazing. More than that, I respect her honesty. We all know how to pinch pennies when needed and can relate to using Groupon and finding deals. That’s real.
In Cardi’s case, she’s just a regular, degular smegular girl from the Bronx (her words) and I live for it. Watching her, I feel like she could be one of my friends from my neighborhood. She’s still that candid, in your face, big personality from Love & Hip Hop with that youthful spirit and a hustle only found in New Yorkers. Which, as a Brooklyn native, I can only respect.
In both cases, I believe they hone the true power of authenticity. Again, that courage, that choice to be unapologetically you at all times. No matter who’s watching. They sometimes receive criticism and backlash, but they keep going. They don’t try to fit in anyone’s box. They each have their own.
Authenticity is a quality that seems to be so rare these days. That’s why when we find it, it’s refreshing. It shouldn’t be. We should all choose to be the best version of our real selves. For one, yes everyone else is taken. Secondly, pretending is boring, exhausting, easily detectable and overrated. Lastly, I don’t think that was the original plan.
Be you and let the world adjust. Not the other way around.